When Did The Discovery Of Pluto? Who And How Discovered Pluto?

18 February 1930, Clyde Tombaugh 24 years old and fresh off a farm in Kansas patiently scans photographic plate at the Lowell  Observatory. He finds a tiny speck that turns out to be a new planet called Pluto. But in the 75 since then a close-up view of Pluto and its giant moon Charon still only come from the artist's imagination. Every other planet has been visited by NASA's spacecraft and the post office has issued stamps to commemorate their close encounters.

Tombaugh used the machine to look at photographs of the patch of sky taken a few days apart. Night after night he patiently exposed the large glass plates. Day after day he had blinked the plates back and forth looking for anything different from the fixed points of starlight. Tombaugh still recalled just how uncomfortable and challenging the search for Planet X turned out to be. Tombaugh said, "you get cold getting up to I persevere, so this gets a brutally monotonous blinking back and forward."

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Tombaugh was looking for that shifted position. Further, Tombaugh explained that " The only means we have identified that planet, there got to be smaller it's like a small star image. The only clue we have is a shift in position with integral few days, nights and time. It is the only clue we have got to see all these time. There are hundreds of, thousands of them to see. If there is any shift in position during the interval between the first and second plate. "That small movement was just Tombaugh saw on 17 February 1930. It was just Lowell and Tombaugh wanted to see a distant planet.

By studying the motion of that dim and distant dot of light astronomers discovered a Pluto year.
The time it takes to move around the sun was equal to 248 earth years. The angle of its orbit was steeper than any other planet. Its distance from the sun also varied more than any other planet. For 48 years that was all, anyone knew about Pluto.

In 1978, astronomers Jim Christie and Bob Harington analyzed new plates taken at US Naval Observatory in Flagstaff. Christie noted an elongation of the planet to the north. One month later, the bump had disappeared. Blink the images back and forward just like Clyde Tombaugh did and we see the bump is moving there. The conclusion is that the Pluto, like Earth, has a moon.

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By analyzing their orbits and their distance from each other astronomers were able to calculate their mass and size. Pluto was smaller than our moon about 1,500 miles diameter and had only one-tenth of its mass. Pluto and Charn together would barely stretch across the continental United State. From its size and orbit, astronomers estimated that Pluto is perhaps half rock and half ice that makes it one of the largest of a whole new class of objects. The ice dwarfs living out in what's known as Kuiper Belt. This region is named for Gerard Kuiper, a leading mid-20th-century planetary astronomer. Kuiper suggested that the solar system did not end with Neptune and Pluto. But that there should be a disc or belt of other worlds somewhere way out there.

In the mid-90s Mark Buoy and Allen Stern collaborated in using the Hubble Space Telescope to make the first direct images of Pluto's surface. Hubble has revealed the first glance of Pluto for the first time it's exciting to mark an eye and to the whole scientific team to be able to see this object that no humans really could glimpse as a real planet as a real object in the solar system previously.

Astronomer Mark Buoy personifies the ingenuity and persistence it takes to study Pluto. Buoys roll on New Horizons is to help find targets far out in the Kuiper belt, where the spacecraft travel after it has flown by Pluto and Charon. The home ground instrument named Mamere after a Norse god of wisdom will be placed on the ground-based telescopes to study ices on Pluto surface before the spacecraft get there. For two decades Bouy and colleagues have used the best instruments available to map the planet.

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Pluto remained little more than a dot as small and as a walnut seen from 30 miles away. In the 1990s the Hubble Space Telescope showed just a blurry surface and this image is the best we can do with Hubble and advanced computers. Pluto clearly has a varied surface but whether these are mountains or craters or a polar caps remains a mystery. That is where New Horizons wide-angle camera comes in. Because scientists want to get up close and personal.

In 1992 from a mountaintop in Hawaii, David Jewett and Jane Lew found the first Kuiper Belt object. They were using new and highly sensitive CCDs like the sensors in modern digital camera. But their technique was an essentially updated version of Tombaugh's work take carefully registered images of a patch of sky and see if anything moves against the distant stars. This one qb1 did just that Jewett and Lew had found the first Kuiper Belt object. It was just a few hundred kilometers across about the size of an asteroid.

In 2002, Astronauts placed the new advanced camera for surveys onboard Hubble and Buoy now had data for the new map.  Pluto clearly has dramatically varying geology though the images are still mysterious. But what a transformation from the dot of light that was Clyde Tombaugh's first sight of Pluto three quarter's of a century earlier.

Late 2005, the long journey begins from Cape Canaveral Florida NASA's Kennedy Space Center. In the Kennedy clean room, the new spacecraft takes its first short flight. It is just two meters about seven feet from the top of its high-gain antenna to where it joins the rocket. About the size of a grand piano fully loaded with fuel. It weighs about 1,000 pounds. Not very large or heavy for a planned journey of almost 20 years.

On Saturday, December 17th, 2005 spacecraft and the third stage in its closed-up fairing like a giant fragile egg are placed on top of a huge transporter. With nine axles and 81 wheel vehicle is able to raise and lower itself to roll over the bumps and down slopes without tilting the cargo. Working round the clock they arrive at pad 41 before dawn.

In 2005 Hal Weaver and Alan Stern used the Hubble for another close-up look at Pluto and Charon. They said, " We want to know everything that could possibly along our path as we going through the Pluto, Charon system." The result was a historic and astonishing discovery. We saw two small dim moons. Before it would double the excitement of the close encounter. We got four for the price of two and instead of having just Pluto and Charon we now have another couple of exciting moons to investigate. So there was an even more interesting place than we imagined."

Mark Buoy went back and confirmed the discovery by reanalyzing previous images. He made the true color portrait of Pluto and Charon with the newest moons Nix and Hydra. New Horizons will speed through the Pluto system in less than a day. To maximize success, the mission would use flying by Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system as a dress rehearsal for encountering the smallest.

In 2006 and before they could ship the spacecraft to the Cape, the hardware and the science instruments all have to go through the rigorous test program. For this mission keeping on the schedule was critical. It is also important that we get there as soon as possible because of Pluto did not have atmosphere but it is moving further and further away from the sun. At some point, that atmosphere is gonna freeze out.

The story of Pluto's discovery begins from Flagstaff Arizona, The Lowell Observatory named for its founder Percival Lowell, A rich Bostonian who was fascinated first by the possibility of water and life on Mars and then by the search for Planet X. An undiscovered world out beyond Neptune. Pluto was discovered here and the observatory remains a center of Pluto research today.

January 19, 2006, NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto successfully lifts off from Cape  Canaveral traveling faster than any previous spacecraft. In the just nine hours new Horizons passes the orbit of the moon and begins a nine-year voyage to Pluto.

For this first-ever trip to Pluto the science team wants to find out the basics like What do Pluto and Charon look like? What are they made of? What kind of atmosphere exists? Their hunts for all these questions are connected.

Understanding its nature, what it implies about its information? How it came to be and everything about it. Coming up with New Horizons safely on its way to Pluto find out what sophisticated scientific instruments are on board to unravel Pluto's mysteries.

75 years after the discovery of Pluto, 17 years after a mission was first proposed, the dream of exploring the ninth planet was now only weeks from launch. For most people on the project, in a sense, this is the end because it will be built and launched on its way but for the science team and the operations team, this is the beginning. This is where they begin the journey. Along its nine years voyage, New Horizons will also be collecting some very important samples of dust. What's the big deal about dust, we have dust everywhere dust in the house, dust outside and dust all out the solar system. Well dust comes from the grinding up of material that gets shed around the case of the solar system we believe that the dust that is flying around the solar system was produced by the grinding up of asteroids, the grinding out of Kuiper belt objects, the ground up of ring particles and so on that is leftover from the process of not just forming the solar system but it is constant evolution over time.

February 28th, 2007, the spacecraft zooms past the giant planet Jupiter getting a 9 thousand miles per hour gravity assist and cutting two years of its journey. The Jupiter flyby was a dress rehearsal for Pluto. New Horizons science instruments returned detailed images of Jupiter's clouds, moons and rings. If all continues well things look good for July 15 and the Pluto flyby. In the past decade, humans have been making amazing discoveries in the outer solar system. But the astronomers continue to debate the definition of a planet and how the new discoveries change our revolving picture of our solar system. So now the Horizons mission is perfectly poised to shed light on this question and revolutionize understanding of our cosmic neighborhood. It is the ultimate discovery and exploration.

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